Wednesday, March 29, Planned Parenthood is planning a Pink Out Day. Yup, you read that right — a pink out. The constantly embattled reproductive rights organization is looking to send a message to lawmakers that their support is vast and the way they’re doing it is by covering the internet in what they’re calling “Planned Parenthood pink.” The move comes in response to the defeat of the Republican health care bill, which included a provision to temporarily stop federal funding to Planned Parenthood.
Here’s a quick recap on what Planned Parenthood does — and doesn’t — do. Planned Parenthood is the largest reproductive health care provider in the US, with over 2.5 million people served annually. According to the organization, only three percent of their services are abortions. The other 97 percent is focused on preventing unwanted pregnancies (and thereby preventing abortions) through sex education and contraception, as well as providing screening for STIs, prenatal care, pap smears, and breast exams. They also have a research wing, which focuses on family planning.
But what does “defund Planned Parenthood” actually mean? While you might be picturing a budget with the “Planned Parenthood” line crossed out, the reality is that Planned Parenthood receives most of its federal money via Medicaid reimbursements. When a client who has Medicaid comes in for services like contraceptives or an STI screening, Planned Parenthood bills the feds. But if they come in for an abortion? They’ll have to come up with the cash themselves. That’s because of the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortions — except in the case of incest, rape, or to save the life of the woman.
When lawmakers talk about defunding Planned Parenthood because they provide abortions, they’re relying on the fact that we’re picturing a big check every year that goes to the organization. Because in that case, how can we really know it’s not going to abortions, right? But as you see here, that’s just not how it works. Planned Parenthood’s federal funding comes after they serve each individual and never after an abortion.
Does all of this make you angry? Ready to do something about it? Here are four ways you can stand in solidarity with Planned Parenthood on March 29.